FDA Warns about the Dangers of Kratom
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a public health advisory amid increasing concerns about risks associated with kratom, an unapproved, botanical substance derived from a plant native to Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and Thailand. According to the FDA, products containing kratom have gained popularity in the United States as “safe” treatments with broad healing properties.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., stated that kratom is being marketed and distributed as a treatment for conditions like anxiety, depression, and pain. But the unapproved substance has effects similar to narcotics like opioids, and carries the same risks of abuse, addiction, and death.
There is no reliable evidence to support the use of kratom as a treatment for any illness. The product can cause dangerous side effects including seizures, liver damage, and severe withdrawal symptoms, and may interact with other drugs. From 2010 to 2015, calls to U.S. poison control centers regarding kratom have increased 10-fold to hundreds of calls each year, and 36 deaths associated with kratom-containing products have been reported.